Scientists say that everything began in the emptiness of space when a pea-sized piece of intensely dense matter and energy exploded into what has become our universe. In the Zen Buddhist religion, it is said, “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Emptiness is no other than form, form is no other than emptiness. " In other words, only in complete emptiness is there true creation. Without true emptiness, all we have is facsimiles of truth.
What is intimated here is the truth of each moment of existence, which is that each moment is completely empty. We might fill up that moment with all of our objects of affection and aversion, thereby creating our own universe, but when we do that, there is never creativity, only mundane duplicity.
When our moments of emptiness are filled with our thoughts, emotions, memories and plans, there is no possibility of our touching the truth of our emptiness. As long as we escape that truth of emptiness, we remain caught in our own net of stress. Life then becomes, as the Buddha stated in his First Noble Truth: “Suffering. "
Very few people have ever remained in their emptiness without a tremendous, fundamental shift occurring in their minds. Usually, no one will voluntarily remain in their emptiness, and they will immediately attempt to escape it if they can. The doorway to emptiness is boredom and fear, and when we become bored or fearful, we quickly find something to distract us, and therefore bypass the opportunity of something great, which is emptiness.
Sages and saints have experienced this emptiness, and because of this rare encounter exhibits humility and compassion. This humility, self-effacement, and compassion result from the experience of emptiness, but more than that, it results from what comes out of the emptiness, which is an unbelievable creativity.
This creativity has the exact potential that the fledgling universe had before it burst on the scene, and why the universe can always be seen as a microcosm in ourselves. When we see such things as compassion and humility, we don't realize that these are the most creative forces in mankind, because they are the attributes that push mankind toward the future consciousness, a future consciousness that can only result from a tremendous creativity, now lying latent in the emptiness of all of us.
In the hustle bustle of the world, which only leads to our eventual grief, we cannot fathom these kinds of things. They are too deep and distant from our everyday experiences, our everyday intellect. And so we stumble along following a mind of delusion and confusion, wondering why we can't seem to make it all good, no matter what we do.
Occasionally, one or two might catch a glimpse of another way. They might realize that what they have been doing isn't working, nor does variations on the theme of what they have been doing work, and then they might start to search. Perhaps they stumble upon a book, or a person that mentions things that they have never considered before, things that are so detached from the mainstream that they seem almost alien and of another consciousness.
But if they can get by these initial misgivings, and this usually happens after they dive back into their familiar world and see that nothing has changed, and that no matter what they do or how good life seems to be, it eventually all crumbles around them. Then they begin to catch on to the difference between true creativity, and the false creativity fashioned by thought and mind. They begin to see the potential of emptiness.
This transcendent emptiness can be experienced spontaneously if one is truly gifted; if one can suddenly see the absurdity and the futility of a mind-driven existence, and how only in the absences of mind does destiny-changing creativity appear. But few of us are that perceptive and gifted. Few of us can become immediately enlightened, simply because our minds have been conditioned by lifetimes upon lifetimes of confusion. Most of us, once we see that there must be another way, need to deprogram our minds that have led us into a morass of uncertainty and delusions. We don't know what to believe. Although we say that we believe this or that, in our heart of hearts, we know that we don't know; we only rely on what others tell us, and what others tell is always caught within the dead files of mind, which is delusion.
The truth, the creativity of mind, that would be possible regardless of what planet we lived on, what cultural history we may have had, or what belief systems that have developed in that culture, is the creativity of mind that is possible for every human being. This truth cannot be tainted by the non-creative mind; this truth is the result of an empty mind; a mind that has opened itself to the tremendous latent energy that results from an unfettered mind.
So clear your mind. Concentrate your mind. Experience the emptiness yourself, and see what the results are. Don't be influenced by anyone except yourself, because you must know for yourself. Put all the books down, listen to no one but your own heart, and find the courage to remain in the emptiness.
Here you will find your freedom.
E. Raymond Rock of Fort Myers, Florida is cofounder and principal teacher at the Southwest Florida Insight Center, http://www.SouthwestFloridaInsightCenter.com His twenty-eight years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents, including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk. His book, A Year to Enlightenment (Career Press/New Page Books) is now available at major bookstores and online retailers. Visit http://www.AYearToEnlightenment.com